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September 24, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Want the Pill? Well You’ll Just Have to Wait

Students are having trouble accessing timely contraception due to the long wait times at Student Health.
Currently, wait times for doctor’s appointments at Mauri Ora are around ten working days.
A student, who we have chosen not to name, recalled a time where she had misplaced her last packet of Norimin contraceptive pills, with a week’s worth of pills left. She was told by Mauri Ora and Family Planning that there is a 2-3 week wait for appointments at both clinics.
“It was stressful and frustrating knowing I wasn’t protected by contraception, and that I had to wait for my repeat prescription to feel back to my usual self,” she said.
She then went to see how much it would cost to get a consultation and prescription at the on-campus pharmacy, but the cost of $40 was too much for her to afford. In the end, she borrowed a packet from a friend.
Another student describing a similar occurrence. However, in this case the student was offered an appointment with a nurse before her contraception prescription ran out, and received the repeat prescription from the nurse. The student still had to attend an appointment with the doctor to sign off on the medication the nurse had given her, two weeks later.
“It’s an absolute mess around and waste of everybody’s time, taking away precious appointment time from another student for me having to have two separate appointments for the same thing,” she said.
Mauri Ora General Manager Kevin Rowlatt said that students should “plan for repeats well in advance (5-10 working days) to avoid running out of medication.”
National Medical Advisor of Family Planning, Dr Beth Messenger, has stated that repeat prescriptions for contraceptive pills are available through appointments or through their drop-in clinic. Some clients may be able to talk to a nurse over the phone and get their repeat faxed to a pharmacy, however this option is not possible for all clients and for every prescription repeat.
Additionally, appointments at Family Planning’s drop-in clinic are scarce, due to high traffic and potential understaffing.

Nonetheless, Dr Messenger said that Family Planning are working to extend clinic opening hours to make it easier for people to get to the appointments that they need.
Rowlatt said Victoria University also have worked to determine high priority areas for students health and wellbeing.

“We are always looking for ways to address waiting times within our resource constraints.”

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